The Deepest Kind of Tooth Ache

April 15, 2011 | 17 comments

It’s tough letting her grow big. But there she goes. See her?

I’m stuck here, all spectator-like on life’s bleachers, begging God to make the sun stand still, for just one more day of Little.

It’s not her first date, for crying-out-loud. So what’s with me?

It’s just a tooth. Her first tooth fell out. That’s all. I repeat: It’s. Just. A. Tooth.

But it’s the first one to fall out. And I’m undone.

She, however, is beaming. She brings me the tooth, cupping it as if she were an archaeologist who just excavated enamel for the first time in recorded history.

I watch her cupping a smooth pearl, and I know this: letting go has a tangible quality, and it can be cupped in two hands. I know it, because she’s holding it, and I reach out to touch it — physical evidence that my baby is growing big.

Like I said, it’s just a tooth. But.

She disappears around the corner, her hair flying as she slides sock-footed across wood planks. I hold a pearl and wait.

She reappears, carrying a tiny pillow. It’s the little Tooth Fairy pillow with the red pocket stitched on the front. It’s the pillow and the pocket where I put my own baby teeth, one by one, then waited in the dark for dimes to drop from winged fairies.

Didn’t I just stand before my mama with a gap-toothed grin?

It’s all going so fast.

But you have to let go of what has been, to make room for what is to come. All things must empty in order to be refilled. This life, it’s a constant emptying and refilling, emptying and refilling. It’s a two-step dance, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the one leading.

She opens her mouth to show me the new gap on the bottom row, and I pull down her bottom lip to get a better look. Already, I see the top of a new tooth pushing up through the pink. And I clap my hands and cheer for the new thing. God is always, always doing a new thing …

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

— Isaiah 43:19

by | April 15, 2011 | 17 comments


  1. Karen Kyle Ericson

    That's so sweet. You're a good Mom for sure 🙂 Yes, God is always doing a new thing. And it will be good. God bless.

  2. Jennifer @ Studio JRU

    So, so sweet Jennifer! I love how you said you have to let go of what has been, to make room for what is to come. Beautifully put! 🙂

  3. Bek

    Love this post. You are right, if we are still holding onto the past, how can we embrace the future. I love the Lord's work. There is always something better coming, even when yesterday was great. xx

  4. Tony C

    Absolutely beautiful Jennifer.

    This is why I love the old hymn- Never Grow Old. Bless you.

  5. Nancy

    I thought I was the only one who cried when she watched those baby teeth come out. After all, It seemed they had just poked through toothless gums mere days earlier. Oh, these are hard words to read, to remember, to live. And yet, you're right. We're not the ones doing the leading in this dance. So thankful to know the One who is and to know that He is good.

  6. Joan Davis

    Ok…you're not supposed to make me emotional today! ha ha! My "kids" are grown, so your post was an especially poignant one for me. But you are right…we need to let go of the past and look to the future — the future that God is building. He is so good!

    Blessings, Joan

    P.S. I used to get a dime, too…but, does the "tooth fairy" follow the ways of inflation? lol

  7. Megan Willome

    I must be lacking a pertinent Mom-gene because when my kids lost their teeth, it completely grossed me out.

    "Look, Mom!" they'd proudly say.

    "Don't show me!" I'd yell and run toward the bathroom.

    And then they'd chase me with a bloody tooth in hand. And I'd lock the bathroom door.

    So you can feel good today that you have not inflicted tooth trauma upon your precious daughter.

  8. A Simple Country Girl

    My son just plops his teeth into a mason jar and says, "Mamma, please don't forget to fairy me some change for morning." Not many sneaky things go on around here.

    Don't even start to think about dating. One day at a time, sister!


  9. S. Etole

    just so you know … inflation has hit the tooth fairy, too

  10. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    S. Etole — Shhhhh. Anna doesn't know about inflation. She thinks dimes are terrific — and shiny. 😉

  11. Lyla Lindquist

    First date? Yeah, right. I'm pretty sure that Scott will have them locked in their rooms when they turn 15. (One more reason we just couldn't have girls.)

    What you do with a moment, my friend. You're helping the both of you stretch them out the way you do this here. And that's a good thing.

  12. Duane Scott


    This was a mommy post, but it was REALLY good.



  13. Laura

    Oh, how I love how you mother, Jennifer! I so love the traditions you keep. I just grips my heart each time I hear of a new one. A pillow? Really? For the teeth? Ingenious. Growing up in a family that kept few traditions, this has become so very important to me as a mother–to celebrate these little moments with ceremony.

    Most of my boys' teeth are gone now. Many pulled by that sadist we give a lot of our money to. I wish I knew about the pillow earlier! But…there will (possibly?) be grandchildren, right? Maybe even a little girl.

    I'll remember this one. 🙂

  14. Debra

    Precious! I remember those days. We still have a few to go and a baby who will go there again. I have pictures of all the missing teeth and have marked them all on the calendar. But, each season with my three girls is an incredible blessing and gift and oh, what I learn and what God changes in me … so enjoy your story Jennifer. It is a breath of fresh air in my life.

  15. Linda

    This is so moving Jennifer – especially now as the days tick off before the baby becomes a bride and wings her way off to a new life in Paris.
    Yes – He does new and amazing things, but it is wise to cherish the moments. They are so fleeting.

  16. andy d

    We never really stop the parenting of our children mine is 23 this year and still I worry when He doesnt come home and call when sleeping over at friends. But I know that GOD is the protector of our loved ones so we must learn to let go and let GOD.

  17. Emily

    Thank you for such a beautiful post. I found it while searching for what other Christian families do about the tooth fairy (turns out my husband and I were on slightly different pages), and I was so touched by this. My 3 year old recently had an injured tooth pulled so we’ve been thrown into tooth fairy land prematurely. (Oh and if you ever need a good resource on caring for kids’ teeth, this Mom’s Guide has been very helpful to me.) This post gave me the added bonus of your really good perspective of the new things God is always doing. Thanks! And God Bless You!!


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